Skip to main content


Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
Rexford Ahima

Departmental Affiliations

School of Medicine
School of Nursing

Contact Info

1830 E. Monument Street, Suite 333

Research Interests

Diabetes; Obesity; Endocrinology; Neuroendocrinology; Metabolism; Cardiometabolic disorders
Experiences & Accomplishments
Tulane University
University of Ghana Medical School
University of London
A world-renowned physician-scientist, Dr. Rexford Ahima is known for uncovering connections between diabetes and obesity. As the leader of the Johns Hopkins Diabetes Initiative, Ahima strives to apply his crosscutting expertise from basic and translational research to the clinic and populations.

Dr. Ahima’s research is focused on the interrelationship between energy stores and regulation of feeding, energy balance and endocrine systems by the brain, as well as on glucose and lipid metabolism. He is interested in how adipokines and other circulating factors target the brain and peripheral organs to control feeding and metabolism, and the implications of these circulating factors for treatment and prevention of obesity and diabetes. Ahima’s research is at the interface of metabolism dysfunction and diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, cancer, aging, and other conditions, and contributes to evolving policies and practices for clinical care, education, and research in diabetes and weight management.
Ahima joined Johns Hopkins University as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in 2016 from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; and Professor of Medicine; Public Health; and Nursing.
Honors & Awards
Member, National Academy of Medicine (NAM)
Member; American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI)
Member; Association of American Physicians (AAP)
Member; Interurban Clinical Club (ICC)
Fellow; American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Fellow; American College of Physicians (ACP)
Fellow; The Obesity Society (TOS)
Owl Club Teaching Award; Tulane University School of Medicine
Leo Davidoff Teaching Award; Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Pfizer Postdoctoral Award; Harvard School o Medicine
Albert Stunkard Founder's Award; University of Pennsylvania
Pat Usher Lecture; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School Diversity Lecturer
Rogers Lecture; Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology; Jons Hopkins University School o Medicine
Presidential Visiting Professor; Yale University
Editor in Chief; The Journal of Clinical Investigation
Editor; Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences- The Year in Diabetes and Obesity
Associate Editor- Endocrine Reviews
Select Publications
Publications with highest impact factors
  • The hormone resistin links obesity to diabetes CM Steppan, ST Bailey, S Bhat, EJ Brown, RR Banerjee, CM Wright, ... Nature 409 (6818), 307-312
  • Role of leptin in the neuroendocrine response to fasting RS Ahima, D Prabakaran, C Mantzoros, D Qu, B Lowell, E Maratos-Flier, ... Nature 382 (6588), 250-252
  • Leptin RS Ahima, JS Flier Annual review of physiology 62 (1), 413-437
  • Adipose tissue as an endocrine organ RS Ahima, JS Flier Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism 11 (8), 327-332
  • High-fat diet determines the composition of the murine gut microbiome independently of obesity MA Hildebrandt, C Hoffmann, SA Sherrill–Mix, SA Keilbaugh, M Hamady, ... Gastroenterology 137 (5), 1716-1724. e2
Adipokines, Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Health